Help, I woke up in the business of the future with lots to do and precious little time!

Stressed businessman

Well, welcome back. Your desk is just as you left it...

I’m in the future, really?

Same job, same business – and I think you’ll find a few things on your to-do list still need crossing off. But, yes, it’s 2020 and lots has changed. To start with, we’re more productive than ever. So, there’s really no time to waste. Grab your list and I’ll show you around.

Okay then. First, I guess my customers’ price lists are out of date. I’ll need to send out some new ones.

Oh, we don’t send out price lists any more. Since we set up a self-serve web portal, our clients have instant access to our latest figures and resources.

Yeah, we had those in the past. But aren’t they a pain to stay on top of?

It’s no extra effort for us – anything we upload to CRM can be published straight to the portal. That means we can share knowledge posts authored in CRM so customers can easily find answers to frequent questions without needing to phone or email. 

Some queries even trigger actions in CRM, so if a customer logs a support case, for example, it will be automatically routed. Customers can update their own profile via the portal, which really helps us – and gives them more transparency and control over the data we’ve got on them.

Well, that’s one thing off my list. Now, speaking of CRM, I have some forms I need to upload and create a few new contacts from business cards we've received.

Not a problem. We can use AI to extract the data straight from photo on your phone, a scanned image, or a PDF file to automatically create a new record in CRM. Everything from contact details and dates through to invoice numbers, product tables, and amounts – we can train the model to find whatever we need to fill in our most-used forms.

This is great, but it’s a lot to take in at once.

You mean the mental and physical toll of being the first person to travel through time?

Actually, I meant these new ways of working. I’m just not sure I’ll remember all the steps every time.

Oh, don’t worry about that. We’ve got guided processes.

Guided processes?

Step-by-step instructions that go with any of our repeatable tasks. Say you forget to attach a file to an email, you’ll get a prompt before it’ll send. Or you’re about to speak to a customer who’s logged a support case, you’ll get an alert with their customer record. Or you’ve completed a job and need sign-off from another team, they’ll get a nudge.

Oh, so it uses rules and logic.

Exactly. The guided processes look at all the data we’ve collected over the years to spot patterns and apply them to our business. That way, they can predict outcomes and help us take the right actions to get there.

Sort of like seeing into the future, huh?

Don’t force it.

Right, sorry.

Now, with all that data, we’re always coming out with new insights and reports and tracking the metrics that matter – it all happens automatically. You’d think that would make it impossible to find what you’re looking for, but our system is trained in natural language. Just type in what you’re after, and it uses context – not clunky filters – to find it for you.

So, I’ve got a meeting with a client in a few minutes. Can I use these insights to prep for that?

Sure. We've also hooked up LinkedIn to the system, so any updates our contacts post on there, go straight into our records.

Like moves and promotions and things?

And new contacts, opportunities, and insights – right next to things like contract renewals, open tickets and service issues, recent feedback, marketing materials they’ve read, and so on. It's easily accessible within CRM to help us know our customers better.

Well, things sure have changed.

It all started with connecting our data. Now, we can see more of what’s happening, what’s coming up, we can use that insight to get more done. We did it all with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. Of course, we had a partner to help out – and a few guides.

Anything I could take a look at?

Sure, give this PDF a try.

Start with connected data: How SMBs will increase productivity in 2020 and beyond

It covers five ways how organisations can be more productive through digital transformation. Everyone at Preact has been really helpful, so they’d definitely answer any more questions you’ve got – send them an email at [email protected], or give them a ring on 0800 381 1000.

Great. Well, I’d better run to that meeting. Unless you’ve got teleportation here in the future?

Don’t be ridiculous.

RELATED: How to Increase Productivity with Dynamics 365

CRM Advice